Washing Day

The washing load flaps, undies

full now with next door’s barbecue.

Conversational categorisation wafts

rank with a CIA stench.


She takes to the beach,

mid-winter wind whipped.

Millions of grains of sand grandly

holding a universe in silence.


She laughs in analogue, the internet

gone so bad so quick, knowledge

buried under dis & mis information.

Beauty fragmented, whole exploded.


Sometimes she knows nothing

but the thin red line, the

hollowing out, her husk concaving

from arctic southerlies.


But othertimes she knows, in cells,

like an animal before a tsunami,

that time is a circle & beyond

this ending is plump beginning.

Photo by Roberto Shumski from Pexels

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Honing

Some writers say that they have trouble coming up with ideas. I don’t often have that problem, not even with racing monkey-minded fogbrain. Ideas are everywhere if the creative tap is running at just a trickle.

It’s true – they’re everywhere. So pick the ones that ring for you the loudest.

My problem isn’t finding an idea. It’s not even starting, once I’ve got past the huge procrastination roadblocks to sit down to do so. It’s whittling the bloody thing down once I have started it. It threatens, by the fourth paragraph, to burst its banks and run in 100 different directions so that it becomes senseless even to me. There are too many connections, too much to try to include, too many linkages that cry out to be joined together.

The grit isn’t in writing. It’s in rewriting and rewriting and honing and deleting the paragraph you love when it becomes apparent that it doesn’t fit. It’s in going away and then coming back and seeing that even though you’ve honed and honed and honed, there’s still a giant gap in the seventh para where you jump from one thing to another and where you actually need to write an extra three paras to string the two thoughts together.

It’s going away and coming back and realising that you’ve clarified that bit but another part of it is so clunky you don’t know how you didn’t see it last time you were here.

I feel like my writing becomes incoherent so quicklythese days and the whole process is weighing a little heavily on me today. I hate how heavy the process of writing feels nowadays. It’s like every time I sit down I’m revved too high. Which is no wonder, considering I’m lugging this fucking ME body around, with its relentless inflammation that refuses quenching no matter how much antiviral stuff, how much salted water, how much quercetin I chuck in it.

The clarity required to write is difficult to find when you are foggy. The consistency to write daily, even harder when you never have half the energy you want, even when you’re stable. The peace of ease to just jump in and write-swim and see what happens without the part of you that is desperate to climb out into financial independence standing with a whip at your back asking if you’ve produced anything yet that you can sell, sell, sell.

Then another part, the wisest: you’re trying too hard. You need to relax. I’m trying, I’m trying to relax. This is the turning circle. It is hard in this place to stave off the futility. I have so much creative in me that wants to come out. It floods over my life when it does and makes it all bloom. But for now, at least, the cracks caused by ME/CFS and the corporatocracy are wide enough that it’s awfully easy to fall into one. Or to just throw the towel in, and yourself in after it.

I hope that in the future it will be different.

Somehow.

In the meantime, I shall get back on the horse. After 9 days of not writing any of my novel, tonight I will return, bite off another small portion of the elephant – 250 words. And, as usual, once I begin I will probably find I will be able to write two whole pages. Another 500 words. Don’t look up to the horizon of the finish. There are too many days inbetween now and then. Just stay here, in the Today, in the only time I have to move my hand and my pen in. Just this one day and just that one or two pages. Make them enough, though they feel paltry. They need to be enough.

Pic by Markus Spiske via Pexels

You Are Bigger Than Other People’s Categories

Like me, you are a complex being.

One of my biggest personal complexities is the way my political leanings – anarchist at this point in time – butt up against my pleasure in the mystical side of life.

When I read political stuff, I hardly ever feel at home.

I could cut myself down to size to fit into the prevailing acceptable ideas. But I won’t do that. If I do that I will lose my sense of my own dignity, my own at-homeness, just in order to feel like I’m fitting in, and feel a bit less lonely.

There is this weird idea getting about that you are just a bunch of different categories.

But that’s just a bullshit idea come straight out of consumer culture, a Deep State bullshit story about how you are a simple creature, more mechanical, really, than alive.

What single human being on the planet is ever like that? Once you’ve got to know anyone for long enough you will discover perplexing contradictions about them.

And if you were to listen to the commonly held view, you might think that there is something wrong with that person. That somehow, somewhere, they must be contradicting themselves and that therefore they are liars.

A paradoxical human is a human who’s got to know themselves well enough to reach that level of complexiry.

We are meant to have contradictions. You’re not going off-brand if you do. You’re just going beyond the bullshit brand crap to the messy place where you get real.

Don’t let yourself be sliced off. You’re worth more than that. There’s less wrong with you than you think. It’s the current fragmented age that is in the wrong, the way it tries to make you so small, and to make you into Just One Category, so that scared people can quickly identify you.

You have the whole world inside you. There’s nothing singular about you.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

Crowd Security Rather Than a Crowd Feeling Secure is the Focus at the Footy

The only time you’re gonna have no issues at a place where tens of thousands of people gather together. More security is not the answer … unless it’s the humans who are feeling more secure. CC0 pic


I wrote a version of this piece below five years ago. It was at the MCG, not Marvel Stadium, but the problems with bad crowd behaviour and how to fix them were prevalent even then.

The feeling of hostility and coldness and interrogation at the footy has been going on for years. Combine it with powerful corporate interests and with a defunct social idea that we are all in something together and that we all owe each other something — and you get a corporate bullyboy show where people feel silenced and watch the footy in a simmering stew of guilty before presumed innocent.

I’m not physically able to get to the footy but even if I was I’d think twice about going to such an unwelcoming space.

~ ~ ~

Mostly September, 2014 with a few 2019 thoughts thrown in

On Sunday, Erin Riley shared how her Grand Final day as a Swans supporter was made intolerable, not because of her teams on-field shellacking but because of racist, homophobic and abusive Hawthorn supporters off-field. As a member and a football-goer, I think about this sort of thing a lot. Wouldn’t it be cool if people had more empathy, cared how much their aggressive and repulsive actions upset and disrupt other people? How do you stop offensive behaviour from happening in public places?

What can we expect the AFL/MCC to do when supporters are obnoxious beyond the pale? Do they get one of their security minions to throw them out of the ground? That’s an option. Although in Erin’s case, it quite simply didn’t work. We’ve had other instances this year where people have been thrown out of the ground and had their memberships cancelled. That last seems a ridiculous over-reaction, with the end result most likely being a hardening in the people thrown out of the sort of thoughts and ideas that caused the cancellation in the first place.

But throwing people out of the ground doesn’t work out so great for everyone else either, seeing the cops and security guys required for such actions roam the aisles inspecting us for naughtiness week in, week out, even on the times when nothing bad is happening. It makes for a rather silent, intimidating and unfriendly atmosphere, even aside from the scoreboard encouraging us to SMS the seat position of those indulging in bad behaviour. It doesn’t seem so strange an idea that a hostile environment breeds more hostility. And the footy has felt hostile to me for quite some time.

Take the blaring scoreboard, for example. That thing yells shit at you from the moment you arrive to the time you leave. Makes it hard to talk with the people you came to watch the game with. Makes you retreat more into your headphones to escape the clamour that is football in a corporate, advertising, profiteering, greedy age.

Going to the top-level footy is noisy, unfriendly work. A visit to a VFL game shows you what you’re missing in the big league – a more relaxed, welcoming, friendly experience. A top-level visit to the footy gives the distinct impression that you are not wanted. You’re required for the background sound effects and visuals so it sounds and looks good on the telly. But you’re not central to it. Profit-making is. That’s what happens at professional level. It gets turned into a product for businesses to profit from tangentially. You as a supporter – your experience – is a very low down secondary factor to that.

That’s how it’s felt for quite some time for me, going to the footy.

So what else could the AFL do but throw unruly people out? Seeing so much of this cruddy behaviour comes from people who’ve had six too many, how about not serving alcohol at the ground?

Ooh, there’s a controversial idea. That would go massively towards stopping the grosser end of the abuse spectrum. But it’s just not even possible to imagine it, is it? Can you imagine how worked up people would be if they couldn’t get smashed at the footy? I mean, what are ya, mate? And anyway, the AFL/MCC would blanch at such socialistic profit-reducing measures. That’s not how capitalism works, mate. Especially not in a society where alcohol is such an embedded part of its ability to lurch along.

Yeah, nah, couldn’t ditch the grog. You’ve gotta neoliberalise the problem. Make it all the fault of individual people and ignore how the environment surrounding them is having an effect.

More alcohol-free zones at the footy would be a start, though. Then us overly sensitive ones could band together and enjoy the footy (whatever the result) without feeling intimidated by people who’ve lost the ability to keep it nice and the bands of people getting up and down throughout the game to go stand in line for the next round, disrupting others trying to watch the game in the process.

Some may say that abusing the opposition is part of the game, and though I don’t like it myself I am at the lily-livered wussbag end of the spectrum. I empathise with every losing team mine my beloved Hawks has had the pleasure of beating this year [2014], and who cries at the killing of mice. I find yelling people at the footy a bit frightening. But I also am aware that a crowd of people are comprised of a variety of styles, that I’m not in my lounge room, that people are going to grate on me, and if you can’t scream at the footy then there’s a problem. I’m not the central focus at the footy; we are.

We have become intolerant in tolerating the intolerant. Because we don’t feel we owe each other anything anymore. And into that rip of the social fabric, the AFL and Marvel and the MCC bring their authoritarianism. And because we all are alienated and hate each other and don’t feel we owe each other anything, when the cops come and throw someone out, we don’t care. But we should. Because allowing the cops to solve stuff is really a very uncool way to go about having a free society.

[From 2019: we can see how much authoritarianism has increased from 2014 to now. It is pleasing to me that footy crowds are fighting back and saying enough].

The problem with security people and cops patrolling the crowds is it becomes us against them. But what happens when us are also divided against… well, us?

It seems increasingly obvious that we people these days are more brittle and sensitive to others’ criticisms of us, and we are more intolerant of the intolerant. In this I agree with Erin’s detractors although when it comes to feeling overwhelmed by that kind of thing I am right on her side.

But we have to find ways of dealing with thuggery that are more sophisticated. I think it begins with believing that even humans at their worst are worthy in the first place of being treated with more kindness and decency than the jackboot brigades are able to muster. But how to do that when we are hostile against each other, and don’t believe we owe each other anything? Sometimes I wonder what role that level of social fraying and rampant individualism plays in authoritarianism flourishing.

I had my own mini-version of irritation to deal with on that golden Saturday afternoon. A fellow Hawthorn supporter’s relentless abuse of the opposition got so tiring that at one point I yelled, Mate, give it a rest, would ya? Its not like your team’s not goals up. Because really, if you feel the need to abuse the opposition when the Mustardpots are well on their way to winning their 12th flag, something’s gotta be wrong with your own personal sense of security, right?

But then, I think that we all feel insecure now, for multiple reasons. A bunch of people walking around employed as security doesn’t make us feel more secure, but less.

It makes the corporations feel more secure though. And therein lies part of our problem.

We live in a police state and even our sportsgoing reflects it.

It’s not only the workers united who’ll never be defeated. We are not at all united at this present time. No wonder we feel so insecure.

Content Writing Seems Soul-Sucking (Or, Post #15,627 on But I Wish I Could Just Play the Fucking Game)

Flicker pic by Bruce Henschel (CC BY-NC-ND)

It takes a certain kind of attitude to work as a writer in the marketing field. The litmus test, which I retake every month or so, is to read any of the myriad how-to posts about “conversion” — about how it’s fine to manipulate a “consumer” psychologically, in their soft, bloody fear center just as long as you’re not too hardcore— and see how I feel.

So far, I’m yet to feel anything but a cloud of dark doom with a serve of dessicating conscience, at such an everyday, and distressing, prospect.

I have been too ill to work much at all for quite a few years. But now I have had some improvement and I am hoping that I’m going to be able to get some semi-part-time-and-super-flexible lucre-earning happening, so I can take some strain off my partner, who has been supporting us both all this time.

What better area for someone who loves writing than content writing, right? It has all the flexibility my chronic illness requires with much more potential to earn semi-steadily, unlike the dire straits of pitching journalism and commentary and fiction to publications.

And so content writing is the obvious choice and I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Can’t you just be practical, I wrestle with myself? I mean, companies need to sell products and people need to buy them. Can you not just focus on that, without being haunted by the fact that what you feel you would be doing is either explicitly or implicitly trying to force a fellow human to buy something they probably don’t need, at the very time the earth groans under the weight of overconsumption? This way of looking at content writing is itself impractical for my bank balance. But I just can’t shift my viewpoint. I can’t not see the direct links between the system killing planet and people and the companies profiting in that system. When I hear other writers describing the slow rip of their soul dislodging itself from their sanity it helps to assauge, a little, the thought that I’m being unprofessional and sorta childish by railing at the reality that the only way a writer can earn a good living is by writing thinly disguised public relations for evil multinationals.

Everybody is different. You’ll either be okay with this form of writing and think me melodramatic, or like me you’ll feel a dread drag that starts in the center of your chest and pulls right down to the pit of your guts when you think of writing corporate propaganda, so that every time you go back, once again, in desperation, to reread the post about how much money you can make content writing, in a five minute spin you’ll whirl yourself away again, because you can’t, you just can’t, you just damn well can’t, and wishing to be the person who can is so far not working. And you’ll maybe feel bad about that, inadequate.

I really loathe this feeling of inadequacy, but not as much as I hate its counterforce— a small ball of shiny sanctimony that congratulates myself on how much more of the big picture I see than the apolitical proponents of content writing. We all know this self-righteous space. It’s where all our tweets now come from. A kind of cobbled-together bulwark to protect our poor selves and our fragile identities. It also condemns those people who don’t have the choice, as I seem to think I do, but must do whatever they can to pay the bills.

What’s the problem though with writing for companies who have products to sell that people need? It’s just commerce, exchange. Keeping the economy going. There’s nothing wrong at all with it if you keep the frame tight and look at it as a transaction. But I’ve never been able to keep the frame tight. My father asked in desperation why I was so inquisitive when I was seven years old, and since then I have been trying to slot together the pieces to see why the world is so beautiful but also so rigid and restrictive, because we all know there is something terribly wrong in the fragmented picture reflecting back to us. And now the picture has become a video; it’s a system. It runs us round and round into mechanical ruination. Especially because we have been made complicit, haven’t we, now, right in the center of capitalism’s over-consumption. Their system has been tied to our greed and low, low global prices so that it’s hard to see the system anymore. How many people can even remember what all those presents were they bought and received last Christmas? But look at how the maw gaped open again with the desire to fill it on December 26.

The internet has given writers way more opportunity and way more competition and way less dollars per word. Once, companies were restrained in a cage called an advertisement and what went on within the actual pages that the ads were funding was reasonably separate from commercial concerns. Kinda like the separation of church and state.

Now, when an entire industry slid like a newborn onto the cold slab of the internet the money has dried up from ad revenue and instead, companies have moved to the forefront. Now, writers write for the companies, rather than be funded by them. It’s a marked difference. Now, writing for companies is where the good money is at. Which is probably why you don’t hear much complaining about the privatization of writing. It’s much harder to have dissent when your copywriting for Lockheed Martin pays so well you don’t have to worry about your rent (or, more likely your mortgage; if you have conscience capacity to write for Lockheed Martin in the first place, you have your pick of the cream of the crop of copywriting and content creation. Nothing pays as well as writing for the finance and defense industries).

What if you can’t do that? Then you must content yourself with the lesser-paying but still somewhat financially rewarding filler for company sites. What is wrong with writing for fortune 500 companies that pay quite well? What is wrong, say, writing for Costco, which sells everything from laundry detergent to TVs to saucepan collections?

There is no end of articles advising aspiring content writers or copywriters to go for the big companies with the big budgets. I always come away from them feeling terribly lonely and a bit frustrated. These articles encourage writers to see what they write as if it’s a monoculture. A factory farm of words clumped together in pens that are all the same size and shape. When I look on sites like Freelancer the people who are looking for writers for their site content don’t even mention what the site is. The implication is that it shouldn’t matter. Everything is as equal as everything else.

Every time I try to swallow my bile and instead try to see my writing as a business, I see rows of chickens squashed into cages. I see forests being cut down for palm oil and soy. I see us drowning under the weight of excess production of the excess stuff of capitalism. And no matter how much I want to be able to write for these large companies, I just can’t. Because large companies are a major component in keeping the status quo the way it is. They do not pay their taxes, their major aim is to maximize profit for their shareholders, and they have powerful vested interests in keeping on with the earth’s destruction.

It is so unfashionable to say that what I write matters to me. In late-stage capitalism, writers are made to feel that we should separate what and who we write for from its effects on the world. And that if we don’t we are somehow unprofessional.

Well, stuff that. It does matter what we put our energies into. The output of our work does matter. We need more idealism expressed in the writing world, not less.

Okay, then. So what I have left is writing for nonprofits and co-ops, right? Now you’re talking. I wish to start up a co-op of my own, an Australian writers’ co-op producing Australian writer and journalist-written news (and explainers of the news) and place-based essays, where we cut out the owner and accord the profits to ourselves. Whatever profits there may be — which in my more negative moments feels like the stupidest of dumbass ideas, like starting up a coalmine or a factory producing beta video tapes. But you never know till you try, right? So the NFP space seems to be the right fit for someone with my sensibility, right?

But then the problem that shows up here is that money is often so tight that by the time you get to this end of the corporate spectrum a lot of the work is fundraising work. Coercing people this time not to buy stuff, but to give organizations money.

And so I’m back to my issues in paragraph one. I don’t want to write to coerce, to force, to pummel and persuade and motivate. To center everything around a “conversion”. All of these coercions have the same implication at their base — that you the reader are not okay as you are. You need to be persuaded that you really do need that saucepan collection to fill your gaping hole with a satisfaction that will last three minutes, or you need to feel guilted into paying your own money to help suffering people who are often suffering at the hands of a system that requires them to do so and that is run by governments with austerity proponents. Donating private money to ease people’s suffering in a capitalist system only keeps that system running. And I don’t much like that system.

There is no well-paid content writing that writes for the better future. It all just writes for more of the same. So much of it is public relations more than anything.

I can’t be content with that. I want my writing effort to be well-paid and to be geared towards, as writer and thinker Charles Eisenstein puts it, “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.” One not built on the profit-making mindset of the dark Satanic mills of the beginning of the industrial revolution (which are now outsourced out of sight to non-western countries). One not built on the need to sell, sell, sell, and to buy, buy, buy and to give, give, give when our world is groaning under the weight of such a system of stupidity. One not built on the profit of some at the expense of others.

I know it’s impossibly crazy to want to write for and in a world better than this one. But I simply won’t be content until that is the content.

Speaking Out Of Our AvatArs: On Quitting Social Media

Pic by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels

I haven’t missed being on social media much at all.

I just don’t like people on social media. I’m not particularly happy about my levels of misanthropy when interacting online. It’s just that people are so freaking fake, and that brings out all of my Holden Caulfields.

Paradoxically, people are also more reactive when they’re online. But that, too, is the other side of the same fake ego coin.

No one is as wonderful or as terrible as they seem online.

Problem is, I think we’ve got used to speaking out of our avatars. Doesn’t it feel so clean from inside it? Like you’re squeaky clean. So squeaky clean you can not feel like a fake either over-exaggerating your highlights reel or overblowing your outrage gasket. While meanwhile everyone else probably likes you less than in real life as well.

Nope, I don’t miss it at all, at all, at all. I don’t miss the constraint. I don’t miss how it feels like a schoolyard. I don’t miss how it feels like you’re a cow, stamping yourself with your own brand, because I’m way too in love with my own complexity and depth and, yes, contradiction and paradox, to squeeze myself down to fit inside a shitshow.

Pic by Bennie Lucas Bester on Pexels

Carl Jung, the depth psychologist, called the mask we present to the world the persona. My personal view is that our online personas, or avatars, look enough like us that we can get by on the outside, while on the inside the work we are meant to do in understanding and getting a grip on and owning and transmuting gets left. And so the person we are meant to be becoming instead gets left aside because it’s much harder, and scarier, work facing your own demons than it is speaking out of your avatars and feeling sanctimoniously not-at-all-hypocritical going out to battle other people’s demons without having got a grip on your own first.

I guess even hell is somewhere to live. But nope, I don’t miss social media at all.

Because nobody is layered as complexly as they are in their reality, with their contradictions and changings and beauties and darknesses and flaws.

Pic by Sajal Shreshta on Pexels

And if I can’t interact with people’s realities, rather than their digital box, I would rather not interact at all. To do otherwise produces distortions. People become less trustworthy at a time when we need to learn how to do that again. We start seeing each other the size of Thumberlina, rendered at 3DPI in greyscale, and who needs that sort of dishonouring?

Pic by Aneesh Ans on Pexels

We already feel small enough. We need and deserve to feel how our true analogue selves are wider where our digital selves are smaller, and bigger where our digital selves are smaller, and can be blessedly more humble and grounded and at peace where our digital selves are trying to make a home in a homeless, brash, know-it-all space that is not our home because it is too small to accommodate us.

We must create our own internet, one free from corporate control, where we can interact without being squeezed out of shape or blown out of proportion.

Pic by Pixabay on Pexels

Parliament House Winter Menu: Magic Mushrooms on Toast

Researchers announced a few years ago that the psilocybin in magic mushrooms has the ability to foster “sustained changes in outlook and political perspective” for people suffering depression. Even better, those changes are “in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism.”

Considering the levels both of depression, authoritarianism, kowtowing to Washington and nature disinterestedness in Australian politicians, now that the days have darkened to match our erstwhile leaders’ vision for our country, I can’t think of a better time for the Parliament House kitchen staff to perform a feat of culinary rebellion never before seen. One that will change the country’s vision to technicolour. Onto our pollies’ winter menu must go a variety of mushroom dishes: magic mushroom soup, magic mushroom risotto, magic mushies on toast.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the dangers being faced by journalists, writers, bloggers now the US is attempting to jail Julian Assange for 30 million years for doing what journalists have done since their inception – informing us the people about what governments are doing to us and to others on our behalf

The Assange case is authoritarianism gone fucking bonkers. You could be jailed for, say, putting that video on your blog. You know the one, that showed military personnel murdering a couple of journalists, shooting them up like pixels in an RPG. The one that showed how the west is a nasty, murderous, despotic regime?

Unsurprising, then, that Australia has put into place its own gag laws on journalists in recent years. Unsurprising that the Australian Australian Federal Government wants to spy on its own citizens (all this in the name of your peace and safety, of course – nothing to see here) and that the Federal Police raided the home, computer and phone of a Herald Sun journalist who reported on the mooted plans of the latter.

There have been several accounts by politicians in recent years of the prevalence of depression in politics. At the South Australian Press Club in 2011, Opposition frontbencher for the Liberal Party, Andrew Robb, claimed that 20% of federal pollies were on antipressants. More recently, former Greens senator Scott Ludlam took time off due to depression and anxiety in 2016 and in The Monthly in March 2018 spoke brilliantly of the toxic and stressful environment that is federal politics. It is, he said, listing badly. It is also more complex and multi-faceted than those of us on the outside, who only see the patheticism of social-media-writ-3D that is Question Time, often like to concede. (I can’t recommend his piece in The Monthly high enough).

Ludlam described a situation of ongoing emergencies that simply must be attended to but which erode the time needed to tackle the big issues like housing affordability and speaking up against a despotic foreign power on behalf of one of our own citizens. Combine that with what must feel like the pervasive threatening fart of powerful corporate interests perpetually wafting down the corridors and maybe that’s all it takes for these big issues to just be pushed back, never got to, as the years roll on and people collect like fodder on the streets to sleep.

You reckon a winter of magic mushies would change things up though. You reckon that’d bump Parliament Question Time up to prime-time viewing. Imagine the paradigm change. Forgiveness of debt. Massive economic reform. People suddenly crossing the floor with nary an ego jiggle. Our policies would become circular. Imagine the amazing kaleidoscopic visions of an economy pegged to beauty, brother, to helping protect and not harm this amazing place on which we live and on which we depend and which produces foodstuffs like mushies to reverse our insanity and plug us back in.

Imagine the jobs that would be created once our pollies’ reptilian brains were shunted aside from central position. Witness Peter Dutton’s incredible shrinking paranoia and portfolio. See them beat our defence budget sword into earthy public-strengthening ploughshares. Imagine being free of this whole monetary mess that keeps us enslaved no matter how many bullshit jobs the government claims to create.

The government would begin new programs as part of its recent commitment to spend millions to help heal the Great Barrier Reef. They would decide that instead of perpetuating psychological warfare on unemployed people they will now train a bunch of them to learn how to SCUBA dive, in order to go down and peel off by hand all of the millions of bits of plastic that are sticking to the coral and suffocating it. Not cost-effective? Of course not. Not in this stupid version of events. But in the new, mind-expanded one? It makes perfect, beautiful sense, man.

At the first job I ever worked, in the mid-1980s, my boss had a poster stuck up on the wall in her office. It read, “I must be a mushroom. Everybody keeps me in the dark and feeds me loads of bullshit.” This appears to be how the Coalition views the public, their employer, these days. The people of Australia are apparently the mushrooms, as the government retreats further into its own defensiveness and paranoia, proposing new laws to silence all those scary community groups and charities who dare to criticise them. Proposals for laws to prohibit our journos from writing about and our comics from giving us a needed laugh about how bloody dark it is right now.

I’m tired of being fed this authoritarian bullshit. Tired of the death of the public sphere. Of being treated like mushrooms while feeling like we’re toast because it seems no one can stop the bureaucratic psychological warfare by this nasty, cynical Coalition, and Labor before it, of the most vulnerable people in our midst – the sick and disabled, the destabilised, the demoralised, the refugee and the whistleblower. Our political leaders need a total cosmic reboot. Go to it, kitchen staff.